Antibiotic prescribing in nursing homes in an area with low prevalence of antibiotic resistance: compliance with national guidelines

Scand J Prim Health Care. 2012 Mar;30(1):10-5. doi: 10.3109/02813432.2011.629156. Epub 2011 Dec 21.


Objective: To examine antibiotic prescribing in nursing homes and determine to what degree the prescribing was in accordance with the national guidelines for antibiotic prescribing.

Design: Retrospective examination of patients' records who were prescribed antibiotics in the period 1 March 2007 to 28 February 2008.

Setting and patients: Patients residing in the nursing homes of Arendal, Norway.

Main outcome measures: Choice of antibiotic in respect of the recommendations in the national guidelines for antibiotic prescribing.

Results: A total of 714 antibiotic courses were prescribed to 327 patients yielding a prevalence of 6.6%. Compliant prescribing was 77% for urinary tract infections (UTI), 79% for respiratory tract infections (RTI), and 76% for skin and soft tissue infections (SSTI). Ciprofloxacin was responsible for 63% of non-compliant prescribing. On the respite wards there was a higher rate of total prescribing, non-compliant prescribing, and prescribing by physicians employed at the local hospital.

Conclusion: Guidelines for antibiotic use must be implemented actively and efforts to improve antibiotic prescribing in nursing homes must be aimed at both nursing home and hospital physicians.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial*
  • Female
  • Guideline Adherence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Infections / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Norway
  • Nursing Homes / statistics & numerical data*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / standards*
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents